Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Australia No Longer Accepting Refugee Claims From Sri Lanka (Canada should do the same).

An act that Canada should mimic, Australia announced that it will no longer accept refugee claims from Sri Lankans.

Citing improved conditions in the country Australia feels confident enough to deny asylum to those originating from Sri Lanka.

So let's recap shall we.

The UNHRC has assisted in the return of 852 Tamil refugees to Sri Lanka from India in the first six months of 2010. Indeed, citing improved security conditions in the country the UN has gone so far as to state that countries of the world should no longer presume someone fleeing Sri Lanka to be a genuine refugee.

Just over 70% of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees have returned to Sri Lanka for various reasons bringing into to question the validity of their asylum claims. In one year alone 8,600 Sri Lankans with refugee claims pending in Canada applied to the Sri Lankan High Commission in Ottawa for travel documents so they could go back to Sri Lanka for visits.

Martin Collacott, former Canadian high commissioner to Sri Lanka from 1982 to 1986, has written in the National Post "the suggestion that Tamils are being persecuted as a people in Sri Lanka, however, is nonsense and is a myth propagated by Tamil extremists."

An internal Citizenship and Immigration Canada communication noted that “returnees (to Sri Lanka) are dealt with professionally and, unless there are outstanding criminal warrants, deportees and other returnees are simply returned to the community on arrival after brief and professionally conducted interviews.” Also, “other countries have successfully returned large numbers of failed asylum seekers, and Sri Lanka is a safe destination for unsuccessful refugee applicants.”

I don't know how much clearer it can be when even the United Nations is saying Sri Lanka is now a relatively safe country for its Tamil population to return to. With that said Canada should do the same as Australia and send back anyone making an asylum claim in Canada who of Sri Lankan origin.

However that is easier said then done because Canada has the Singh decision, Australia does not. And Ottawa has ruled out invoking the notwithstanding clause to repeal it. Stopping the migrant vessels now becomes a cat and mouse game, a game I think Canada will lose.

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